Effective Collaboration in Group Research: The Necessary Tools

On a previous blog post on Rethink How We Assess Group Research, we looked at a rubric for individual participation in group research that was used at Grade 10 International Relations class. The rubric was part of an effort to help students understand what an effective participation in group research looks like. As part of my support to the classroom, I did a co-teaching session where we unpacked the rubrics with the students. To deliver my lesson I used a site called Tackk which is a really cool tool to organize lesson plans. You can then link or embed on your blog or class site.

“Big Ideas” as hooks for effective group collaboration

On the previous post mentioned above, we already saw the “big ideas” developed by Silvia Tolisano for my rubric, as shown on the image below: Share, Self-Adjust, Curate, Add Value. Those “big ideas” were used as hooks or connectors to the more complex descriptions in the rubric.

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Students have a sense of how they need to grow: stretch their thinking

The students had already reflected on their initial group research experience when the International Relations teacher, Mr Peterson, and I presented the rubric to the students. So I created small papers with main student suggestions and the definitions for the “big ideas”. In this initial activity students had to work in groups to match their own suggestions to the “big idea” definitions, making a connection between their thinking and those new terms.

record thinking exercise

Rubric descriptors as a road map for “Big Ideas”

In the next activity, students split into groups to read different parts of the rubric and match with the “big ideas”, filling out the rubric with those terms . I worked as a “moderator” to discuss the appropriate interpretation of the rubric. That was a way for students to unpack the descriptors using the “big ideas” as a bridge. Groups worked in an adapted jigsaw protocol, where they became “experts” in different criteria and then explained to others.

record peer assessment in group research

Notetaking strategies make group collaboration concrete

Finally, students had to discuss the notetaking template to be used to support the individual collaboration in group research. Below you see a snapshot of this template.

Tackk Activity:

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Some “codes” were agreed with the students, so each participant in the group would be identified with a number. This is because colours would be used to identify quotes, paraphrasing and own ideas.

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In the Rethink How We Assess Group Research post you can see an Infographic describing different levels of student participation in group research, moving from cooperation to true collaboration. The template below described an intermediary stage between cooperation and collaboration. Each student is responsible for one subtopic question, but other students can contribute to the question with additional information or comments, to help create a more coherent answer to the main research question.

In this way, the process of research is clearly documented in the notetaking document. Therefore,  individual participation can also be clearly identified, following the rubric descriptors.

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Peer Assessment as a process check

Along the research process, Mr Peterson asked the students to do a peer assessment using the Rubric. Then, they discussed what was necessary to move up to the next level in the rubric.

IR Class Peer Assessment Research

 

 

This is an adapted post  from Teaching & Learning at Graded.

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